28 Aug 2012



At 17 Zac is given a choice: either go to a young offenders' institute, or enrol in a rehabilitation scheme - a course that teaches juveniles how to cook. He makes his choice. He chooses to cook. He also chooses to succeed. Whatever it takes.
...... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: So here I am and no going back.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 86): Peasant food is for peasants cooked by peasants a peasant's what you were before surely it's not what you want to be?

MY THOUGHTS: The story of one young man's determination and almost obsessive desire to succeed no matter what the cost, I found The Cook an interesting, if not always enjoyable or easy, read. 

Given the current debate on organic foods and the fact that many children know little of how the food they eat is produced this was a topical and timely read though as a non-meat eater I found much of it a little too graphic. 

Written in the first person by main character, Zac, a young man of limited education. At first it took a bit of getting used to the fact that the narrative was lacking in punctuation, the sentences running one into another, until eventually I ceased to even notice this was the case. 

Meticulously researched and wonderfully well written, the subtle build up of tension leading to the surprising and totally shocking ending was a remarkable piece of writing that made this a book well worth persevering with what I found to be an otherwise uncomfortable read. 

Published in issue number 73 of NewBooks magazine.

An Uncorrected Proof copy, The Cook is published on the 8th of November 2012 though it it available to pre-order on Amazon now.

DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS magazine I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.  


GMR said...

Read a book that rang a little close to this once, especially on the over detailed accounts of less than appetizing scenes....BLOOD BONES AND BUTTER. Not bad overall, but a bit graphic. *-*

naida said...

This sounds like a good one. I know what you mean about those graphic scenes. I read a nonfiction book about the truth behind what is in our food and I couldn't eat meat for weeks after reading the slaughterhouse descriptions.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sounds interesting; might be a bit too graphic for me though.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Too graphic? Uh, I do eat meat, but no, I don't want to know that. Still, glad that it was interesting and otherwise good read. Might have to check out other works by the author.

fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I'm afraid that I couldn't live without meat, although I am quite happy to 'go vegetarian' sometimes, so what would be graphic scenes for you, wouldn't bother me too much.

I read a book that was equally as uncomfortable reading as this book, called 'Hoodie', which dealt with teenage drug abuse and I must admit, that even though it was difficult to read, it was thoroughly immersing.

Great review and 'The Cook' is now on my wishlist.


DMS said...

Sounds interesting. I am curious about the surprise ending! With everyone reading more about organic food and where food comes from this may be a pretty popular read.

Suko said...

This sounds really good, really interesting. Great review!

Alyce said...

It sounds like a fascinating story. I liked the quote about peasant food. :) That's about my level of culinary skill.

Jenners said...

It must be good if you can get by the lack of punctuation.

Heather said...

don't know how I missed this review. Sounds like a worthy read thanks. Will add it to the list.